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Pixar’s Brave Loses Witherspoon, Gets New Lead And Concept Art

Reese Witherspoon has officially pulled out of Pixar’s 2012 feature Brave, in which she was set to voice the lead role — the studio’s first non-ensemble female protagonist — Princess Merida, due to a scheduling conflict. Entertainment Weekly reports that the gig will now go to Kelly Macdonald (Boardwalk Empire), which is fitting since the story is set in Scotland and Macdonald is an actual Scot.

EW also released a few examples of concept art of the movie, one of which you can check out above. Brenda Chapman was originally set to direct, becoming Pixar’s first female director, but she was replaced at the end of last year by Mark Andrews, who helmed the wonderful Pixar animated short — a personal favorite of mine — One Man Band. EW further reports that although Andrews is now the man in charge on Brave, Chapman will still receive a co-director credit.

The story follows Merida, the princess of a kingdom in the Scottish Highlands ruled by King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson). A willful and rambunctious young woman with a talent for archery, Merida makes some terrible mistake that leaves her home and her family in danger. There’s magic and an ancient curse, and a trio of Scottish lords driving the story’s comic relief, voiced by Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson and Robbie Coltrane.


  • Anonymous

    Hmm. Sounds unusual even by Pixar standards. But it reminds me of How To Train Your Dragon (not made by Pixar, but still) and that was pretty good.

  • ATK

    Losing Witherspoon is not a big deal. Hope this lives up to the Pixar standard. Good vibes to the people of Pixar.

  • Ken_m_elliott

    The concept art is not really revealing, especially of the protagonist’s face. It does remind me of Secret of Kells, a movie which I really love (and which I really hate to see imitated, if this is PIxar’s intention.) I am still interested to know why Chapman was replaced by a less-experienced director, considering Prince of Egypt is one of my favorite animated films.